people management

Articles

Testing team standing around a computer and smiling 3 Methods for Better Communication and More Effective Testing

Successful delivery of software requires the entire team, so it’s imperative that everyone choose their words carefully so they convey what they really mean, are sensitive to others’ feelings, and consider all aspects of a problem. Here are three questions to remember when communicating about your software testing projects to ensure you’re considering the power of words.

Ajay Balamurugadas's picture Ajay Balamurugadas
A developer and a tester looking at each other warily Examining Cross-functionality Bias on Software Development Teams

Cross-functionality means having all the necessary people and skills on one self-organizing team. Unfortunately, the execution of cross-functionality is often biased. The main traps we fall into are misunderstanding the value of specialization, hero worship, and not “walking the cross-functional talk” as organizations. Let’s examine each of these pitfalls in the hope that your teams may avoid them.

Natalie Warnert's picture Natalie Warnert
Encouraging growth Agile Managers: Trust Your Team and Encourage Innovation

In order to fully embrace agile and create an environment where individuals want to work together as a team, managers have to move from a role of dictation to one of direction and mentorship. Instead of making all the decisions, managers need to trust their team members and empower them to solve problems on their own, innovate, and fail—or succeed.

Lisa Rich's picture Lisa Rich Mic Riley
Managing for Happiness: Games, Tools, and Practices to Motivate Any Team Book Review: Managing for Happiness: Games, Tools, and Practices to Motivate Any Team

Jurgen Appelo’s useful and fun-to-read book Managing for Happiness: Games, Tools, and Practices to Motivate Any Team gives you concrete tools to identify ways to help your team be happier and to create environments where people can thrive and be more productive. Despite the word managing being in the title, the book is a beneficial read for anyone.

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk

Better Software Magazine Articles

All Customers Are Not Created Equal All Customers Are Not Created Equal

Software developers may not think they have much to do with customers, but it is wise to consider the customer in all you do, from collecting requirements to design and implementation.

Regina Evans's picture Regina Evans
The Secrets of High- Performance Software Teams The Secrets of High-Performance Software Teams

Of all issues that impact getting quality products out on time, the team should never focus on simply managing costs. To minimize the risk of perpetual product delivery delays, define what “done” really means.

Steve Mezak's picture Steve Mezak
tolerate You Get What You Tolerate

We’ve all worked with a talented developer who can be a frustrating challenge to manage. First-time managers may unknowingly encourage bad behavior. There are several innovative ways to resolve the situation.

Andy Kaufman's picture Andy Kaufman
handstand The Power of Thinking Upside Down

Software developers can become bogged down trying to keep up with agile process and procedures. Get better results by rethinking your approach to balancing focus, agility, management, and testing.

Paul McMahon's picture Paul McMahon

Interviews

8 Ways to Ruin Your One-on-Ones: An Interview with Jason Wick
Video

In this interview, Jason Wick, senior manager at MakeMusic, discusses his STAREAST presentation about eight ways you could be making your one-on-one meetings completely useless. He discusses in depth what he feels is the number one way to ruin these meetings: holding back on feedback. He also offers advice on how you can educate your team leader to avoid the pitfalls that lead to ineffective one-on-ones.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine
Melissa Tondi Embracing Tools and Technology in QA: An Interview with Melissa Tondi
Video

In this interview, Melissa Tondi, senior QA strategist at Rainforest, discusses the foundation you need in order to have a positive introduction for new tools and technologies. She explains why the team leader has to understand what motivates each individual and how to get them excited about their job. Melissa says team members also have to realize that if they are in any way involved in testing software, they are a technologist, so they have to embrace the tools and technology that will continuously improve and streamline repetitive tasks.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine
Bob Galen Strategic Leadership in Agile: An Interview with Bob Galen
Video

In this interview, Bob Galen, principal agile coach at Vaco Agile, talks about the importance of getting rid of silos by breaking down the barriers of “them and us” and becoming “we.” He also discusses the need for agile managers to steer away from a tactical management view toward a more strategic leadership view. That means leading their teams by setting expectations and guidelines and being available to help if needed, but ultimately just trusting their teams to get the job done.

Owen Gotimer's picture Owen Gotimer
Achieving a Balance between Manual and Automated Testing: An Interview with Jim Holmes
Video

Jim Holmes, executive consultant at Pillar Technology, discusses tools and methods to effectively communicate with management your goals for balancing manual with automated testing.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine

Conference Presentations

STARCANADA Why Military Veterans Make Exceptional Testers
Slideshow

Hiring trained talent has been a challenge for IT organizations for several years now. How do you find a steady source of qualified candidates for entry-level QA and QE positions, especially considering colleges and universities don't include a software quality assurance curriculum?...

Brenda Hall
STARWEST 2018 What Aircrews Can Teach Testing Teams
Slideshow

United Flight 232 should have crashed with all 296 lives lost. Asiana Flight 214 should not have crashed at all. But the reality is very different. Peter Varhol and Gerie Owen explain that the critical difference between the two flights was the interactions of their respective aircrews. United Flight 232 divided up responsibilities and worked as a team, using Aircrew Resource Management (ARM) to guide how the crew behaved during the flight, and especially in a crisis. Asiana Flight 214 deferred to the captain, neither communicating nor questioning his decisions in crisis. ARM helps cockpit crew members work together to best utilize the whole team’s skills to make flights safe. Using ARM principles, a testing team can bring their project safely home. The leader of a team is the final authority, but leaders must acknowledge team members’ knowledge and experience. This can make the difference between success and failure.

Peter Varhol
Agile Dev West 2018, Better Software West 2018, DevOps West 2018 Taking Your Team from Dysfunctional to Dynamic
Slideshow

Does it seem like your team is the antithesis of agile? Being negative or fearful, resisting change, or hoarding information are common pitfalls that impede progress and can sink an agile team. How can your team adapt to each other, avoid these patterns, and find its greatness? All teams have people with talents and untapped abilities, but it can be difficult for a team to figure out what works for them, what they have, and what they lack. If your team is struggling to unify, find its stride, or revel in the fun of working together, then this session is for you. Michelle Vician will reveal methods to build collaborative behavior, reduce fear of failure, and increase generous knowledge-sharing within a team. She will present some key steps to identify everyone’s strengths and to fuel investment in—and passion for—the team's success.

Michelle Vician
Agile Dev West 2018, Better Software West 2018, DevOps West 2018 Creating an Innovation-Rich Culture
Slideshow

It's important to create a culture that inspires and infuses your development team with great ideas. But ideas are not action. Ideas in and of themselves are nothing more than unrefined, random thoughts, and worse, most ideas never get implemented. Even when you do follow through on some of the best ideas, they can cause great harm without proper planning and execution. While creativity is an asset, unbridled creativity where disparate ideas abound outside a sound decision-making and execution framework will create distraction and chaos. In this session, Melissa Petak will show you how to transform your organization into a value-creating machine. Using Forbes 15 elements of spurring innovation, Melissa will show you how to balance your innovation portfolio, establish a competitive advantage, and drive business engagement. You'll learn how to create a corporate culture that turns ideas into innovation.

Melissa Petak

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